Following his departure from Monday's game against the Washington Capitals with a lower-body injury, the preliminary belief is that Artemi Panarin won't play the rest of the season, Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman has learned.
New York Rangers head coach David Quinn said his star forward was "OK" after the game, suggesting Panarin had not been seriously injured. New York has only three games left in its regular season and has been eliminated from post-season contention, making even a short-term absence for Panarin enough to potentially keep him out the rest of the year.
Panarin left Monday's game midway through the second period, following an on-ice brawl incited by Capitals forward Tom Wilson.
The entire incident occurred shortly after Capitals goalie Vitek Vanecek saved a Rangers shot. With several players jostling in the crease, Wilson began punching Pavel Buchnevich, who was facedown on the ice, in the back of his head. In the ensuing shoving, Wilson threw Panarin to the ice multiple times.
Wilson was assessed four penalty minutes for roughing along with a 10-minute misconduct. Wilson flexed after making his way to the penalty box, an apparent show of pride in his actions. Buchnevich and Panarin were both given two-minute roughing minors.
"We all saw it. There are lines that can't be crossed in this game and it's just zero respect to the game in general," Quinn said after the game, when discussing Wilson's actions. "You have one of the star players in this league now, who could have got seriously hurt in that incident. You saw what happened. And you know, it happens time and time again with him. It's just totally unnecessary."
The NHL has not yet said whether a hearing for Wilson will take place.
Panarin had two assists in 10:40 of ice time before being forced to leave. In 42 games with the Rangers this season, the 29-year-old has 17 goals and 41 assists.